I caught a portion of the Milan Miracle basketball game on ESPN Classic this past weekend.
If you’re not familiar, it’s the 1954 Indiana state high school basketball championship game between small town Milan and big city Muncie Central.
(I especially loved watching the set shot from way out. What an era. But I digress).
It’s the game that inspired my favorite movie of all time, “Hoosiers.”
The Milan Miracle, much like “Hoosiers,” pitted the underdog, Milan High, who had a student body of 161, against Muncie Central, with 2,200 students and several state championships to their credit.
I couldn’t help but put my “Hoosiers” DVD in and watch it again. It stars Gene Hackman, an old, washed-up coach who comes in and shakes up the team, and the town. In the process, he leads them to the unlikely position of being in the state championship game.
I’ve probably seen that movie over a hundred times and there are so many reasons I enjoy it. It truly is inspiring.
But what I love most about it is that it’s a story of never giving up.
That team, and that coach, were no strangers to failure. But, they all just kept plugging along. And in the end, they did the improbable by winning the championship game, all because they didn’t quit.
That’s how life should be.
We sometimes fail so badly it hurts and we don’t want to keep going. We can either roll over and go back to bed, defeated. Or, we can get up and keep on going until we succeed.
It reminds me of that Nike commercial featuring Michael Jordan from several years ago. In it, he says, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, I’ve lost almost 300 games, 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
How many times did Thomas Edison fail at making his own version of the practical light bulb or how many times did the Wright brothers crash?
Where would we be today without their failures or those of thousands of other people?
When we get hit the hardest, when we’re knocked down flat on our backs, we need to get up, dust ourselves off and try again.
I love the Chinese proverb that says “Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.”
So bring on the failure. I’m ready and waiting. I refuse to give up.